“tragic attempts at healthy living in a toxic world”
Let me explain.
I have become increasingly health-conscious in the last few years or so. As a youngster, I was self destructive to the max. Smoked a pack a day, drank, drugged, the usual teenage rebellion stuff. Maybe because I was depressed, or maybe I was depressed because I was treating my body like crap. Needless to say this worried my parents quite a bit and I ended up in the shrinks office, being prescribed antidepressants and the like. Fast forward to college, where I’m on my own for the first time. I decided to get off my meds (still self medicating with other substances of course!) and went to see a college counselor. He gave me the best advice any health/mental health professional has ever given me : exercise 3 times a week. That’s it!
Lucky for me, all the girls in my dorm had eating/over exercising disorders so it was easy to find a work out buddy (or 3). Plus, the gym at my school had a beautiful ocean view and I discovered the joys of working out. I’m not being an asshole, I really do like to work out. The high it gives me is better than any other. A few years later I discovered yoga, and started to appreciate my body for what it could do and how it could make me feel.
Needless to say, none of this really matched with my pack-a-day smoking habit. They had to go. It took a million tries and few years, but I know I’m done smoking for good. I’ve had pneumonia a few too many times to ever go back. Don’t get me wrong, I love cigarettes more than anything in this world. I cried the day I woke up and knew I had to quit. But I am glad they are gone from my life. I feel so much younger, stronger, and happier without them. Turns out life’s not so bad if you’re not in withdrawal all the time!!
College and the few years after were spent in the most beautiful, idyllic, dreamy beach town. Everyone does yoga, everyone smokes pot, everyone shops local and organic and the coolest place to be is the farmers market. I used to hate the hippies and bag on their smug sense of self entitlement. I still kind of do.
Then I found a job I loved, working with kids with special needs. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is an amazing tool that can truly transform lives. I wanted to go to school to learn more, and mostly make more money (hey, just being honest–getting punched puked and spit on should get paid a lot more than it does). So, I ended up in L.A., pretty much the opposite of beautiful Santa Cruz. Traffic, Smog, Water pollution, Boats, trains, acid rain! How anyone can live here and not have mutant babies is a miracle in itself. Specifically I moved to Long Beach, with its own special toxic mix of poverty and industrialism. Did I mention there’s oil drills in the Target Parking lot? And did I mention I live down the street from what we call “fast food nation”–an intersection with literally 9 (9!) fast food restaurants on the corners.
Which brings me to this blog. How can I live a healthy lifestyle, love and nourish my body, in the toxic wasteland that is L.A.? In some ways, its easier here. There’s more foods available and I found a CSA close to my house. We have a garden (never could in SC because its too damn foggy) and are pretty much only eating (extremely) local produce!
On the other hand, I drive a ton for work (1-3 hrs a day depending), I work full time and go to school full time and just don’t feel like I have the time to spend on my health, well being and nutrition. These could and often do become excuses, but I’m really on a journey learning how to overcome these barriers. I think many people in our modern world face these problems (first world problems for sure), and I want to share, learn, grow and inspire. So that’s why I say, “tragic attempts at healthy living in a toxic wasteland”. I won’t always succeed, I may fall on my ass, but it will be worth it. Join me!